Read the review of "You Are Here" below. To go to the New Museum website click here.


Part of the role of being a curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art is to stay aware of what is happening in all areas of contemporary culture. In this section of the web site, the New Museum curatorial staff shares some of their favorite gallery exhibitions, films, book, plays and more! This section is frequently updated, so check back regularly.

Artists Space
Through May 3

Artists Space has turned its main gallery into nine spaces, each holding a different artist's work. From Jay Heike's rock star video installation titled Kill Yr. Idols to Sheila Pepe's shoestring and rubber band sculpture After the Williamsburg Bridge, this show includes a wide spectrum of artists and materials alike.

Rob Fischer combined and reconfigured objects and structures to create an ambiguous environment of artifacts. He has in fact transplanted the remains of a past installation piece into Artists Space. The viewer is immediately confronted with the bulky skeleton of a dumpster Fischer fashioned out of metal and glass panels. Piled high with evidence from his past art piece, the dumpster entices the viewer to investigate the remnants. Also sharing the space is the wooden floor of a hallway, complete with thin, white walls that intersect with a ceiling. Hanging in the middle of this haphazard and misplaced space, a single, bare light bulb gives off an inviting and peculiar glow. Fischer creates an engaging situation that provokes the viewer to speculate about the work's previous incarnation.

Julianne Swartz's stimulating and humorous site specific installation, Line Drawing, leads the viewer's eye through a network of "peep holes" in an otherwise bare room. Each peep hole reveals a blue, vinyl line stretched around a hidden room. Upon entering the space, you see a projection of the blue line reflected out of a hole and onto a piece of plexiglass that appears to be in motion. She cleverly uses light, mirrors, the white walls of the project space, and the curiosity of the viewer to generate her "drawing."

Other artists in this exhibition include Wade Guyton, Sebastian Romo, Jonathan Calm, Lucas Ajemian, and Tsuyoshi Ozawa.


Pierre Huyghe: The Hugo Boss Prize
Guggenheim Museum
through May 4

In Pierre Huyghe's mind, the ideal audience for his exhibition would be a colony of penguins. Indeed, this is an apt metaphor for communities with systems of communication beyond human linguistic knowledge, not to mention being a humorous representation of the masses. Sitting before Huyghe's sculpture, which is presented as one out of two acts in the exhibition, the audience is swallowed up by the dark and left as silent, anonymous silhouettes: propped in various lazy poses, lounging on the carpet like it's a Sunday afternoon. Yet, as much as the piece whets the audience's theatrical appetite, the thick, pervasive fog settles on the stage only to alert us to the absence there, to the lack of spectacle for our hungry eyes.

The second installment incorporates sound, animation, video, and sculpture to create a film without narrative or any allusion to specific time. Using modernist architecture as its historical point of departure, the exquisitely dark film presents us with two 1970s-era French government housing projects, now standing as reminders of the broken promise of utopia, the failure of city planning, and various strategies of exclusion. The trees, sans-foliage, leave us searching for seams between fiction and reality. The buildings seem demonic yet impotent as the light in their windows flash on and off in accordance with a pulsating rhythm. The rhythm culminates to a desperate pace, like a fireworks display that is undecidedly tragic or celebratory; a collective voice in a forest, not entirely unheard but sometimes ignored.


You Are Here
Diesel Denim Gallery
through June 1

What is the difference between a Chelsea gallery and a Soho boutique? Both spaces use white walls to transform former warehouses and sweatshops into temples dedicated to aesthetics and commerce. Shoppers browse beautifully displayed merchandise under the careful scrutiny of hipper-than-thou sales attendants. You Are Here, a site-specific work in Diesel's retail boutique-cum-gallery space created by the collective Fictive, skillfully exploits these similarities while calling attention to the relationships between galleries and boutiques, art and fashion, desire and consumption. As in earlier projects such as Fictive Advertising, Fictive Porn, and Fictive Boutique, the loose collaborative of artists, designers, and architects manipulates retail strategies for its own subversive purposes.

Founded by multi-media artist Paul Clay, Fictive uses many of the same elements employed by Diesel's own advertising: pie charts, graphs, and glossy oversized photographs. Perhaps most importantly, You Are Here also employs a similar sense of irony and distrust of advertising. Diesel's recent web campaign announced that in the last month the total amount received in tips by waitresses wearing Diesel jeans has tripled; You Are Here provides viewer/shoppers with other facts and figures: 30% of the store's 2,800 square feet is dedicated to displaying clothes and the average customer spends 15 minutes in the store. Another graphic shows that you are located at the convergence point of retail history, retail inventions, and the Diesel Denim Gallery.

Text on large photomontages remind you that "shopping is a disorienting experience," but you are made aware of your surroundings in a variety of ways. Soho emerges through satellite photos, small images of local architectural details, and a pie chart explaining the neighborhood's health profile. The gallery/boutique itself is recreated in both a small-scale computer model as well as a to-scale mirror version of one side of the gallery which forces viewers to squeeze through an uncomfortably tight opening to continue looking at expensive vests, jeans, t-shirts, shoes, and multi-lingual text panels suspended from clothes hangers. These textual "products," with excepts from the Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping about retail architecture and the "Gruen transfer," the idea that labyrinthine layouts cause goal-oriented shoppers to wander (and buy) aimlessly, interrupt our passive gaze and call attention to the global nature of Soho as a tourist shopping destination as well as to the globalization of product production and consumption.

As Fictive suggests, "Perhaps the beginning of the twenty-first century will be remembered as the point when the urban could no longer be understood without shopping." In Soho, you are here already.



Dario Robleto: Say Goodbye to Substance
Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria
through July 3, 2003

Dario Robleto acts as cultural archeologist, scientist, and DJ in this fetish-driven one-man show. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Robleto has established himself as a strong and vibrant presence in the art world. He is most known for his obsessive use of vinyl in his art works; melted, powdered, shattered, and personally pressed vinyl records which continue to appear in his works.

In Say Goodbye to Substance, Robleto filled the gallery with an eclectic, yet forceful collection of conceptual and evocative "contemporary artifacts" and scientific samples. A majority of the space is given over to a 10-part mixed media sculpture, Popular Hymns Will Sustain Us All (End it All). This dynamic sculpture involves 10 sections separated by Plexiglas cases, each containing narrative assemblages including transformed records, dead butterflies, and bone remnants. Individually, each case invites the viewer to observe the combination of designated specimen. As a whole, the sculpture reveals a philosophical approach to Robleto's own deconstruction, interpretation, and discourse of humanity and social culture. Also included in this exhibition are several digital prints of space-age sprouting plants, potted in ceramic dishes, one of which says, "I Won't Let You Say Goodbye This Time." Sitting preciously on a white pedestal, a glass encased, red velvet-laden set of drumsticks made out of meteorite are dedicated to Keith Moon, the infamous rock and roll drummer for The Who. The viewer is witness to a merging of disciplines, where digital mingles with the precedent and music is the underlying narrative.

Uniting scientific evidence with pop culture, Robleto acts as DJ and succeeds in interweaving music, social history, and science in a conceptually intricate display.






Living Inside the Grid
February 28, 2003 - June 15, 2003
First, second and mezzanine level galleries

Living Inside the Grid explores how contemporary artists around the world are redefining the grid, one of the most significant motifs of 20th century art, in response to major cultural shifts sparked by the growing confluence of art, new media, architecture, and urbanism. ////

Photo Credit

Top: ABSALON, Propositions d'Habitation (1991), Color video 3:30 minutes, Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

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Living Inside the Grid

Softcover: 160 pages